"Journey to Avoid Housing Court" Part II

Seems like if you own a Catholic Church you get a "free-pass" in Buffalo's Housing Court. As I've been reporting for months the Transfiguration Church on Buffalo's East Side is missing 50 percent of its roof. There is no slate and the sub-roof structure has failed, too. There are gaping holes and like there is nothing going on in Housing Court for the property, either.
Transfiguration Church Transfiguration Church Transfiguration Church Transfiguration Church - Interior Transfiguration Church
click the images to see the "demolition by neglect" of the Transfiguration Church on Buffalo's east-side
Well today the Transfiguration Church and handful of other former Catholic Church properties hit the Buffalo News in the second half of their series...Journey to Avoid Housing Court, Part II.
Monday August 29, 2005 BN Article
Journey to Avoid Housing Court, Part II
Talking Head...
We only need a building "this big"

Many of the diocese's smallest parishes are in city neighborhoods with tiny Catholic populations, including nine parishes with fewer than 300 registered families and 13 parishes with fewer than 200 families.

As I wrote yesterday in response to the Bishop Kmiec's plan to "de-commission" church property - Journey to Avoid Housing Court, Part I - I openly asked why Bishop Kmiec gets a "free pass" in Buffalo's Housing Court. I know, a Polish Bishop...Polish Housing Court Judge...and Polish Common Council President...but come on folks this is not 14th century europe...where the Catholic Church, was immune from criticism and beyond the reach of political transformation. BN doesn't even raise the Housing Court issue...I wonder why?

I mean, the BN quoted Common Council President David Franczyk as being worried. Well, David...being worried is not enough. We are expecting more. How 'bout a plan? Not like your recent one, please...But a plan that will hold the Bishop Kmiec accountable for the buildings they are planning on leaving behind. For starters you might want to force the Bishop's hand by denying building permits for "new church construction" - the new McChurch planned for Eagle and Hickory - untill they post a bond for the repair and maintence of the property they intend to dump and flip to unsuspecting congregations as they did in 1993. That worry shit just doesn't cut it anymore Mr. Council President.

And then alittle further down in the article we learn that the Catholic Church is a good corporate citizen.

The diocese vows to keep on top of all its property. "The diocese is a good corporate citizen," spokesman Kevin A. Keenan said.

Then we learn, again that the Immaculate Conception Church on Elmwood needs $750,000 in repairs. Right...and Mr. Keenan when I checked with the Department of Inspections this aftenoon they have no record of you or Bishop Kmiec filing for a building permit to correct these structural problems with the Immaculate Conception (no pun intended...I think). I'll check the permit office next week, too.

Let's see, who could we call? Hillary and Schumer seemed to be of some help with turning around the BRAC commission's finding for the Niagara Air Base last week. I'll call tomorrow...

Related Posts: Journey to Avoid Housing Court, Part I and Flipping Churches & Flickr Slide Show: Former Catholic Orphan Home. Flickr Slide Show: "Falling Down" about other former church property. Demolition by Neglect Meets Urbex -- all about the Transfiguration Church. Annals of Neglect...coming soon.

Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq


Anonymous said...

I don't think it's fair to pin this one on Judge Nowak, unless the building got into court and he dismissed the case without good reason. If a property doesn't get into court at all, his hands are really tied because of all these judicial ethics rules about not doing too much to aid the prosecution. There are a lot of properties I'm sure the judge and his staff would LOVE to see in court, but as we saw with the whole Harvey Garrett drama, the city and the health department are the ones who write cases for court.

fixBuffalo said...


I'm sure many readers of this blog would like to know the status of the Harvey Garrett court case. I can't find it on the Housing Court website anylonger.

I'm not pinning this on the Judge. I've got a ton of respect for his work and I also serve on his Neighborhood Collaborative. See previous posts...

I'd like to know why Fillmore District Councilman aka Council President Franzcyk doesn't do more for his district. Do you think he's too pre-occupied with Perrysburg?

And so it goes...

Anonymous said...

The last I knew Re: Harvey's case, Judge Nowak had recused himself and they sent it to another city court judge. I don't know if housing court cases that aren't actually heard in housing court end up on the Web site -- it's pretty rare that the judge doesn't hear a case, but it does happen. I think another instance was that house on Ashland that was in housing court for almost 20 years.

I guess one way to find out is to ask Harvey. Or, I think the case got moved to Judge Franzcyk's court, so maybe you could call his office and ask?

As for Councilman Franzcyk (they're brothers), I'm in no position to publicly speculate as to what his priorities are and why he does what he does.

Anonymous said...

I want to say that what is going on in buffalo is criminal. I recently left buffalo ny due to the corruption going on in the housing department. I see people having there properties demolished at the building inspector wishes. the city of buffalo would never get away with there criminal acts in new york city. Because we in new york city have the resources to fight a corrupt government. You need to get out of buffalo and see the rest of free america to see the criminal activety going on in that city. I plan to come back as expose everyone involved in it.

Anonymous said...

buffalo new york needs to market it self. I see many building in harlem that were worthless just a few years ago and now are worth millions. why? cause they were mothballed, and times have changed. And that is what buffalo has to do is to mothball there buildings and get outside resoures to invest. that city can come back but it will never succeed by putting people in jail. you need to relax the issues and let the market rebound. and not take that approach buy a house go to jail. I can not tell you how many people have been chased away by the practises of the housing court people. I was dragged thru housing courts for years, over rebuilding and selling homes to people. I did this with my own cash, and held mortages for the families i sold to. and if any of them are unhappy i would buy the property back right now. The people of buffalo have to welcome this practise and not let building inspectors use the housing courts to express personal vendetta's. Me and many of my friends with the resourses to rebuild buffalo were chased away. I hope that this reaches someone who can make a difference, cause your plans are failing. no one wants to buy in the city due to the fear of housing people. and the people who can buy and fix can not get insurance, and in some cases bank financing. your whole system is failing. And cause you live in it you think your doing well. some one on the top should rethink the system. your resouce to save buffalo new york is in telcommunications and a great cheap housing stock. the government should wakd up and smell the coffee.

fixBuffalo said...


Well said...e-mail me when you have a chance!